It is a privilege.
Why do I volunteer at my child’s school? … it is a privilege.
Let’s be honest, when we started at the school, I had already decided to make volunteering a priority. I grew up in a family full of volunteers, and was eager to do my part. I wanted to help my kids have the best experience possible. I wanted them to know that I am here, and their activities matter. But, what started out as a sense of duty, quickly grew into a realization that volunteering at our School has been a gift. I have met many talented, creative & compassionate teachers, students & parents. I have found some of my best friends here, and developed a more meaningful relationship with my children.
I feel that volunteering helps me be an active participant in my child’s education. I want to see where and how my kids spend their time. I call this ‘helpful reconnaissance’. There’s a huge difference (at least with my kids) between the stories told around the dinner table and actual events. When I help out at school—I don’t want to cramp their style—but I see things. I see how they interact with staff, I see who their friends are, and I see a side of my children I don’t get to see at home.
I want to be with them on their terms. They are starting to spend time outside of the home without me. They are becoming their own people. Overnight, the roles changed. I am now simply known as “His Mum”. It may seem like a loss of identity, but actually, it’s anything but. It is glorious. When I walk on campus, I recognize kids, they wave. Since I became known as “His mum” … my name, my history, my job… nothing carries relevance to a classroom of 6 years olds. It is a fun hat to wear, I am gifted with all of his wonderful qualities; I become fun, interesting, athletic. I’ve also noticed that by being present for the tiny moments, kids now look to me for help. I’m becoming a village mum. I’m not just there for my kids. I’m there for all the kids, alongside other parents, and that’s good for everyone.
When the emails come, asking for volunteers, a cold bead of sweat forms across my brow. I look around, wondering if there will be enough volunteers to spread the jobs. Each year, it gets harder to carve out the time. I take a deep breath, and remember that, with every passing year, the opportunities to connect in my child’s life get fewer and fewer. Seize the moment, stay involved.
I encourage you to show up. The return on this investment is exponential. It is a simple way to show your child how important they are to you. As parents, we look for ways to connect with our child at home and also to their world outside. Volunteering at school can be one of the easiest ways to connect. Shy to join the team? Don’t let it hold you back! We come from all walks of life. I’ve made some great friends through volunteering. When the next email comes, asking for help… remember it really does take a village. If we all contribute, and share the tasks, you’ll find the friendships & sense of belonging are worth it. You’ll find joy in a completely unexpected place. To be part of the village is a privilege.
Hope to see you at the next event.
– with love, “His Mum”